Publication Date: May 1st, 2015
Six months ago, Julia's life was perfect. Then her dad died. Now she lives with her grieving mother and sick grandmother in a puny apartment above their bookstore. After a dark bout of depression, Julia is fragile, and mourns both her father and her old life. But she has one thing to be happy about: Jeremy, the most popular boy at school, has chosen her. Jeremy's love for Julia is passionate, even obsessive. As she grows closer to Jeremy, Julia pushes her disapproving friends and family away. But Jeremy only becomes more controlling and Julia has to decide what lines cannot be crossed.
The Danger Signals or What Real Love should be
As I am not a social worker or relationship counsellor, I did research for Forever Julia to delve into the mind of an abuser and the cycles of abuse. What I found equally important was information about what real love looks like, as that is an important question that plagues Julia in this book. As a mother of two girls, this is an important topic for me as well, so I compiled a quick checklist of what I consider a real, healthy relationship.
Real Love - A Checklist
Respect – Partners should value each other’s thoughts and opinions and never use disparaging comments even when disagreeing. Loving partners do nice things for each other and share the cost of dates. Decisions are made as equal partners, willing to compromise so both get some of what they want. Ways are found to settle disagreements where it is win-win, where both individuals feel valued, heard, and accepted.
Trust and Support – of each other’s opinions and choices. Equal partners offer encouragement and listen to each other without judging. Wanting the best for each other, means sometimes you put yourself second in your relationship. Trust also means not being angry or jealous if your partner has other friends. It also means never telling your partner they can’t have other friends. Everyone has a right to friendships and family relationships outside of their intimate relationship.
Open Communication – Express yourself, even when angry or frustrated, without violence. Never intimidate or threaten the other person. Being able to express yourself without worrying that you will be harmed when you do so, means you feel safe to have an opinion that differs from your partner.
Honesty and Responsibility – Partners in a healthy relationship are able to admit when they are wrong and apologize when needed. Loving partners respect each other’s time and feelings by not cancelling plans and keeping their promises. This may seem very basic, but to feel valued you need to feel like you are important to the other person.
Intimacy – Individuals in a loving relationship are aware of and accept their partner’s needs and boundaries. This includes respecting each other’s privacy and being faithful.
Physical Affection – Respecting each other’s right to set boundaries and say “no” or to change their mind about sexual behaviour is integral to a safe, loving, and supportive relationship. People who truly care and love each other ask before acting on sexual urges and never force their partner to perform a sexual activity they do not want to do. Ever. This includes holding hands, kissing, touching, hugging, sexual intercourse, and everything in between.
JODI CARMICHAEL lives in Winnipeg where she can often be found dancing in the living room with her two wildly imaginative daughters, her patient and supportive husband, and a scruffy Border Terrier named Zoe. Jodi’s previous book for young readers, Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food, won numerous awards and has been a multi-week Bestseller.